I would like to share the story of PMC Team Willett Power and our inaugural 2017 PMC ride. In July of 2016, Duxbury lost one of its most respected and dedicated coaches, John Willett, to a courageous battle against melanoma. John was a close friend father, sibling and colleague. John will always be an inspiration to his former players, their parents and all who were fortunate to know him. He was an extremely accomplished athlete, having played Division 1 lacrosse and hockey at Hobart College. His true strength, however, was his recognition that the value of team sports was not measured by wins or individual accomplishments, but by the lifelong bonds of friendship that arise from dedication to a team and one’s teammates. His love, patience and compassion for all of his players was remarkable. Those values transcend sports and served as an example not only for his young players, but for his fellow coaches and parents.
In an effort to honor John’s life, a group of 14 dads (11 of the 14 are first-year PMC riders!) will participate in the Pan-Mass Challenge in August. They were all fortunate enough to either coach alongside John or know him as the true friend that he was. They have named their group TEAM WILLETT POWER (think “WILL POWER”) and their goal is to raise in excess of $100,000 for the DFCI to find the cure for cancer, so that we may all experience the joy of friendships like John’s for an entire lifetime.
While each member of Team Willett Power has a unique relationship with John, and all have deeply personal reasons for riding in the race against cancer, perhaps the most inspiring is that of Steve Pollack, who will be riding John’s bike for the PMC. Steve and John trained together years ago for the Duxbury Triathlon. At that time, John did not have a bike, so Steve sold him his. John enjoyed the bike for years, but as his cancer progressed, John insisted that Steve take the bike back. John knew how special the bike was to Steve, and wanted him to have it. With that gesture, typical of the selfless friendship that John demonstrated to all who knew him, the Pan Mass Challenge tribute bike ride was born. While the efforts of Team Willett Power are focused on raising funds for cancer research, the ride, at its core, is a celebration of a life dedicated to true friendships. As John taught his young players, the bonds of friendship once created cannot be broken.
The team looks forward to riding in the PMC and raising significant donations for DFCI as they were instrumental in John’s fight against cancer. To learn more about Team Willett Power and track our progress, please visit the team page: pmc.org/TW0156. These dads look forward to PMC weekend, surpassing our fundraising and training ride goals and celebrating the life and memory of a tremendous person.